Newborn screening tests are offered in the first few weeks of a baby’s life. Although most babies are born healthy, a few may have rare problems that can only be picked up after birth. Screening aims to detect health conditions at an early stage when treatment can be offered and is likely to be more effective.
What Screening Tests are Offered?
Finding out about hearing loss early is important for a baby’s development and means that support and information can be offered from an early age. It’s very quick and often takes place whilst the baby is asleep.
Blood Spot Test
All newborn babies are offered a bloodspot test which screens for 9 inherited conditions. The midwife pricks the baby’s heel to get a few drops of blood.
The blood is then put onto a card and sent for testing. The blood sample will be tested for the following serious but treatable conditions:
Inherited metabolic disorders:
MCADD (medium-chain acyl-CoA dehydrogenase deficiency)
Maple syrup urine disease
IVA (isovaleric acidaemia)
GA1 (glutaric aciduria type 1)
Newborn Physical Examination
In addition to the screening tests, all babies are examined carefully within the first three days of life so that any obvious physical problems can be picked up as soon as possible.
The health professional carrying out the examination will give the results straight away. If a referral for further assessment is needed, this will be discussed at the time of the examination.
When is Screening offered?
Within first 3 days
Newborn physical examination
Around day 5
Newborn Bloodspot test
Birth to 4 weeks